I purchased my Reliant 6" jointer from Trend-lines at the same time
I purchased my Reliant 12" planer. I
purchased it for the same reason as well: price point. Where the planer left
something to be desired, however, the Reliant jointer has been trouble-free
and performs flawlessly.
The jointer comes packed in two boxes, one for the jointer itself and one
for the enclosed sheet metal stand. It was well packed and no damage was noted.
It, like the planer, was heavily coated with rust preventative and took quite
a bit of clean up before it was ready for use. Assembly was straight-forward
but would have gone more quickly with two people. The metal stand is made
from heavy gauge sheet metal and has an integral dust chute, making the addition
of an optional collection nozzle an easy task. All necessary parts were included,
nothing was missing.
The beds were flat and parallel out of the box. The center-mounted fence
has a slight bow to it, but not enough to affect its performance. Out of the
box, the outfeed table was properly set at the blade height and the jointer
performed flawlessly with no adjustments.
Knife changing with this machine is more difficult than with the Reliant
planer because it uses springs on the cutterhead rather than adjustment screws.
I removed the springs and use a Magneset® to install the knives. It's
about a twenty minute job, with practice.
The fence, while solidly mounted, is difficult to set at 90 degrees. A
system of nuts and keeper nuts is used (the same as on the infeed and outfeed
of the Reliant planer) and it really is inadequate for the task. The fence
slides in dovetailed ways and once locked, is solid as a rock.
The 22-5/8" outfeed and 22" infeed tables are also on dovetailed
ways and if they needed to be adjusted for parallel, this could be accomplished
by using the integral gib screws. I have not needed to make this adjustment.
Both the infeed and outfeed tables are adjustable for height by the use of
large adjustment wheels. The 1hp motor is more than adequate for a jointer
of this size.
I haven't had a lick of trouble from this machine in the 2+ years that
I've used it. I give it heavy use and it doesn't complain. As I've progressed
in the craft, I've really outgrown a jointer of this size and I have my eye
on a 12" model which Jet makes. The tables of the Reliant are awfully
small when trying to joint an 8' board, but it can be done with practice.
I feel that the money I paid for this machine was well spent.
If you are a hobbyist woodworker on a tight budget, you could do much worse
than purchase the Reliant 6" jointer. The only thing problematical about
the Reliant brand is that I have no first-hand experience with getting them
serviced. What work has been required (on the planer), I've done myself. I
do believe that Trend-lines is a first-rate company, though, and I would hope
that they stand behind their machines.